So far 2023 has been an unusual year, with spring temperatures arriving much earlier than normal.

It appears it’s going to be an unusual year in Raleigh as well while the North Carolina General Assembly is in session.

In odd years the NC legislature holds what is called a “long session,” where among other things the legislature passes a budget for the next two years.

It appears that this year that budget is going to be passed well before the July 1 deadline.  NC State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) has been quoted in the media as saying the House hopes to pass its version of the budget before Easter.

Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), when asked about an early budget passage, said, “I think it’s very possible.”

Hardister said, “We’re having joint meetings with the Senate right now to talk about budget priorities, and those conversations seem to be going very well.”

Budgets are easier when there is excess money, and the projections for the current budget are that there will be a $3.25 billion surplus.

One of the first steps in the process is for the state House and Senate to agree on a total budget figure.  In reality that means that Moore and Speaker Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) reach an agreement on total expenditures.

This year the state House goes first, which means the House passes a budget and sends it over to the Senate.  Traditionally, the House has put more of a priority on higher raises while the Senate usually pushes for lower taxes.

Hardister said that so far this year the state House and Senate seem to be finding a lot of common ground on the budget.

In 2021, the budget was finally passed in November, which means the raises for state employees were delayed from the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1 until the budget was finally signed by Gov. Roy Cooper.

In 2019, Cooper vetoed the budget and the House was able to override the veto but the Senate was not. The legislature and Cooper never reached an agreement on the 2019 budget but did manage to pass a number of “mini-budget” bills that made some spending adjustments.  However, the base budget until the 2021 budget was signed into law was the budget passed in 2017.